July 28, 2008

Ti’s Oldest Building Saved

By Lohr McKinstry, The Press-Republican, Plattsburgh, N.Y.

Jul. 28--TICONDEROGA -- A building that could be the oldest commercial edifice in Ticonderoga will be preserved using money from the state and the owner.

The Ticonderoga Agway on Montcalm Street sits on the LaChute River and was built in 1879 as a gristmill.

Now owned by Douglas Spaulding, the massive structure will be repaired and stabilized using part of a $300,000 New York Main Street Program matching-funds grant.

"It came into existence in the 1870s as a working mill," Spaulding said. "It was built for the demand after the Civil War. It had a flume in the river and a waterwheel."

Sharon Reynolds, executive director of rural preservation company PRIDE, said her agency will hire an engineer to prepare a work-scope report, then contractors will be hired.

"The purpose is to shore up the building, to make it structurally sound before winter."

The two-story wooden structure needs the work, she said. Additional renovations will take place next year.

Besides producing feeds, the mill was used to grind flour, Spaulding said.

"This is a historic, 140-year-old building, one of 12 in Ticonderoga on the National Historic Register. For a commercial structure, it's the last one of that era."

The building's second story was built high, he said, to accommodate belts and wheels for the mill. It's now used for storage.

It has a bracketed cornice, shiplap siding and fieldstone foundation.

In 1961, the old gristmill became an Agway, after having been a Grange League Federation building since the 1930s and the Black Stallion Feed Store in the 1920s.

The building was built by S.B. Moore as a gristmill, and had many small additions put on in the next 20 years, including an additional half story in 1896.

It was sold to George Dudley at the turn of the century, and Moore built another gristmill nearby.

Reynolds said that whatever the cost, Spaulding will pay half as his matching-funds share.

"The success of this is because owners have applied for the grant money, and they're willing to put up some of their own money," she said. "It's a fabulous program. We'll continue getting them Main Street grants."

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